Jay O’Neal

Jay O'NealHello, my name is Jay O’Neal and I am the owner of O’Neal Carpentry in Commerce, Texas. We design and build homes and provide remodel services in the surrounding area. We are a small business employing twelve workers. I would like to tell you my story of how I found Jesus. I was born in Klondike, Texas, and grew-up in Commerce, Texas. At the age of ten, we moved to Tupelo, Mississippi, and I was molested by a lady.

I suppressed this and kept it a secret until my adult life. I didn’t realize how much this destroyed me emotionally. This one event made me a man that I didn’t want to be. I dipped Copenhagen when I was ten years old until I was 29. I began to smoke at twelve and began to get serious at sixteen. Then I was introduced to alcohol. It was okay with my family as long as I drank at home.

My parents occasionally took me to church. When I was ten, we moved to Honey Grove, Texas. At Honey Grove Park Church, I walked the aisle and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. As I look back, I can see how my life changed my life. Three of the young men that walked the aisle with me are now church deacons. It was a testimony of what God had for me, and the future things He was storing up for me.

 I have an adopted sister which came to live with us when I was fourteen. I graduated from Honey Grove High School. I was known as a trouble maker and very crafty at not getting caught in many of my schemes. But as time went by, I was one of those boys that sat on the back row of the church. The deacons would occasionally thump me on the back of the head to be quiet.

At seventeen, my mother couldn’t handle me any longer and told me to leave. I lived in my truck for several months before I got a job. My employer let me live in his travel trailer. My sexual activity increased with many women while working. It began to be an everyday activity to drink alcohol, and by the time I was eighteen I was drinking, smoking, dipping, and doing whatever I pleased. I started taking drugs and lived in that life style for about four years. I lost my job and moved in with my grandparents in Commerce. Money became hard to get, so I began to transport drugs out of Oklahoma and take them back to Commerce to sell for a good markup.

One night, I believed God’s hand protected me. When the police pulled me over, I had just gotten rid of my drug shipment and had stashed the money. They searched my vehicle high and low and didn’t find anything except some bottles on beer. That was not what they wanted, so they let me go. I realized that I had to get away from that life style. God protected me from getting addicted.

The girl that I was dating became pregnant. My ethics and morals taught by my parents meant that I had to get married. Little did I know that my Lord planned this, but I believe that this is the wife that God chose for me.

My alcohol increased to at least a 12 pack of beer every night. I would drink a fifth of Wild Turkey on the weekend plus a bottle of wine. I became an alcoholic. I did not take care of my family. I mentally and physically abused them. I would leave my family at home on the weekend, and do whatever I wanted to do.

On January 11, 1994, my God spoke to me and said, “No more.” I had been drinking for over ten years. It was difficult for me to get drunk. I walked back to my house that morning on Greenville Street, and my wife said, “What are you going to do?” It was about that time that I would leave for the weekend. And I said, “I am not going anywhere.” My marriage was about to end. She knew it and I knew it. I walked into my house and got rid of all the snuff, beer, and alcohol! My wife watched me do this, and I told her that I was not going anywhere. The next morning I got up, and she said, “Where are you going?” I said, “I am going to church.” She said, “Oh, really.”

I went to Ridgecrest Church. The pastor and church members had been coming to my house to invite me to church. To show you what I knew about church life, I offered the pastor a beer. That is how silly my life was. When the service was over, I walked down the aisle, and told Pastor Johnnie Henderson that I wanted to repent and rededicate my whole life to Jesus Christ.

I realized that Johnnie Henderson didn’t have a clue as to what had happen that morning. My God turned me around. I didn’t have to go to Alcoholics Anonymous, or have to wear a patch. I now had a new addiction, and that addiction was Jesus Christ. I went home that afternoon after church, and my wife was stunned as to what was happening. Soon it was time for the evening service, and my wife asked, “Where are you going?” I said, “I am going to church.” She said, “Really,” and I said, “Really,” and she stayed at home. This is a testimony – if men will lead like God wants them to lead the women will follow.

Wednesday night came and my wife asked, “Where are you going?” I said, “I am going to church.” She said, “I better go too.” I felt called to serve. Jack and Nora Chessher were leading the youth. They said, “We need you over here.” They had no idea about my past. So the next thing I knew, I was leading the youth. We went to youth camp, and I had never been to youth camp my entire life. The church thought I knew all about it. I made do. Kids would come back from camp and get saved, and I really didn’t know how to pray the sinner’s prayer. But we figured it out. I hauled kids up and down the roads, took them camping, and invested time with them. I loved them, and Jesus loved us.

There was a lady in the church who was very bold and prayed for me morning and night. She asked me to share my testimony. She listened to my testimony, and she said, “If we knew all that, you wouldn’t have been made a deacon, but I am sure glad you are.”

People have walked up to me and said, ”We don’t know where you get all your boldness in witnessing.” I said, “It comes though daily prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit – Acts 1:8.  Now I am teaching adults.

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